Josh Elliott spoke out for the first time Wednesday on his decision to leave ABC's Good Morning America for a new position with NBC Sports and denied that his GMA departure was unfriendly.
During a conference call for reporters at which he was introduced by NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus, Elliott, 42, said he was "thrilled to my core" at his new NBC role.
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ET's Brooke Anderson asked Elliott during the press conference to comment on reports that his recent negotiations with GMA became contentious. "It was not an acrimonious parting at all," he replied. I have been amazed, even as somebody whose been in this business for a bit now, at how a deeply personal choice became almost this bit player in this absurdist melodrama."
He added: "I want to say this categorically and for the record: I owe everything to
the folks at Disney. They are the ones who put me on the air nine years ago as the host of the dearly departed Classic Now on ESPN Classic."
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Elliott was complementary to "the folks at Disney" (ABC's parent company) throughout the call and said that while ABC News had also put forth an attractive offer, in the end he found the prospect of returning to sports journalism more enticing. "They (ABC) also put a generous and wonderful offer on the table. They were incredibly kind and have been through to the last -- and really made this for me, simply a qualitative choice."
When asked about the possibility that he might eventually join GMA's rival Today show and even replace co-anchor Matt Lauer in the future, Elliott said, "No news role has been discussed with me." He also joked, "I hope Matt Lauer is here when I step away from this gig 30 years down the road."
When asked about reports that Michael Strahan will sign a deal to join the GMA team, Elliott said he thinks the current co-host of Live! With Kelly and Michael would be a welcome addition to the ABC morning lineup. "I think Michael would improve any team he joins. And knowing the strength and the power of the team that certain reports suggest he will be joining, seems a great deal for all involved."